Every day the judiciary plays an increasingly dominant role in shaping our political lives–from recent elimination of reproductive rights and affirmative action, to the steady erosion of voting rights and the unshackling of gerrymandering, to the growing attacks on the Federal government’s ability to tackle climate change, cancel student debt, protect workers, and regulate corporate power. Each of these decisions reflects the channeling of right-wing ideology through the courts in ways that override not just majority views but also the very notion of democratic self-government. But what is to be done about the courts?
For the first time in almost a century, the question of court reform is being taken seriously in mainstream circles. But the conversation to date has focused narrowly on questions of personnel changes and the possibility of adding additional justices to the court. However these discussions do not engage the broader question of the proper role of the judiciary in American democracy, and the wider range of possible tools for institutional change And so over six sessions this reading group will address disempowering the courts: how to understand the problem, historical and international perspectives on disempowerment reform efforts, the strengths and weaknesses of the tools available to us, as well as what building up a political movement around disempowering the courts might look like.
Join PPP and LPE to hear from amazing speakers and join lawyers and law students from around the country as we work through strategies for disempowering the courts and organizing for change.
Jan 30 – The Problem of the Court
Feb 20 – History of Reform Efforts (1865–2022)
Mar 19 – International Comparative Perspective on the Courts
Apr 16 – Tools to Disempower the Court (pt. I)
May 28 – Tools to Disempower the Court (pt. II)
Jun 25 – What is to be Done
The Format: Each session will begin with a speaker or speakers offering approximately 20-30 minutes of framing thoughts and pose some questions. We will divide the participants into breakout rooms of 15-20 people each to discuss amongst themselves.